How to Clean a Coffee Pot

How to Clean a Coffee Pot

If your morning cup of coffee is beginning to taste as if it’s been filtered through a dirty sock, it might be time to clean your coffee pot.

Next to age and the number of times it’s been used, the true enemy of any coffee machine, regardless of brand or cost, is hard water. Cleaning inside the machine and carafe will increase the life of both, while allowing you to drink a better tasting cup of coffee each day.

The scale or hard water spots on your coffee pot is caused by mineral deposits, specifically calcium and magnesium that are naturally contained in water. These minerals leave stains called “hard water spots” or “limescale”.

Hard water deposits lodge inside the machine and affect both performance and taste.  Hard water spots, or stains can be removed by using a solution of vinegar and water.

Cleaning the inside of the Coffee Pot:

Use distilled white vinegar to clean your coffee pot safely.

  1. Fill the coffee pot with a mixture of two parts cool water to one part room temperature distilled white vinegar and stir well. (If you have a 12-cup pot, use eight cups of water to four cups of vinegar.)
  2. Fill the coffer machine’s water reservoir as if you were making coffee and hit the “brew” or “on” button, depending on the style of your machine.
  3. Once the brewing cycle is complete, turn the machine off and let it cool. (Now that the pot is full of the vinegar/water mixture, see “Cleaning the Pot” below.)
  4. Fill the reservoir with cool water and run the machine through the “brew” cycle again to remove any residual vinegar.

Cleaning the Glass Carafe:

Now that the coffee pot is full of the vinegar/water mixture, let it stand for at least six hours. Take a scrubby sponge, not a Brillo pad or any other type of abrasive scouring pad with soap, and clean the inside of the pot.

You might have to scrub hard in spots where there is build up or hard water stains. Rinse thoroughly with clear, cool water and it’s ready to go.


Don’t use soap inside the machine. Only use soap to remove build up on removable parts and the glass carafe itself.

You can also wash the pot and removable plastic parts in the dishwasher occasionally. Make sure to put it on the top shelf, not the bottom.

Note that you may have to run through these steps more than once if your coffee pot hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time or if you live in an area with exceptionally hard water.

Now that you know how to clean a coffee pot, you’ll have better tasting coffee in your mug by tomorrow morning.